The head of the government in the Basque Country (termed the ‘Lehendakari’), Íñigo Urkullu, has requested that Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez declares a state of alarm in the region to help combat Coronavirus.
His petition, made via a video call to Sánchez, also asks that the ‘command and management’ of the state of alarm be held by his regional government, according to reports.
With the figures published by the Health Ministry on 22 October, the Basque Country has seen a total of 56,566 confirmed cases of Coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, 8,913 of which have been within the last 14 days. This represents an infection rate of 403.71 per 100,000 inhabitants. There has been a total of 2,029 deaths from Covid-19 in the Basque Country.
Earlier on Friday, prime minister Sánchez described the situation in Spain as ‘serious’ and said that ‘the next months will be very hard’. To avoid a new national lockdown, he appealed for ‘social discipline’ and ‘team spirit’ in order to ‘flatten the curve’ of Covid-19 infections.
His address followed a meeting on Thursday of the ‘Inter-Territorial Council of the National Health System’ between Spain’s central Health Ministry and all regional health authorities, in which a consensus on a nationwide nightlife curfew was not reached, despite support from a majority of the regional authorities.
Since Spain entered its New Normality phase on 22 June after the central government ended the nationwide state of alarm that had been in place since 14 March, responsibility for public healthcare and managing the Coronavirus pandemic had been left in the hands of Spain’s 17 regional governments.
A state of alarm was imposed on the region of Madrid on Friday 9 October, officially for a period of 15 days. It expires on the afternoon of Saturday 24 October. The same measures that were in place for a previous partial lockdown in Madrid became enforceable only via the state of alarm, after the region’s authorities had opposed the original measures in court. With the imminent lifting of the state of alarm, the Madrid regional authorities have already announced new measures to come into effect.
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